Family

From special to glorious

I wish, I wish, I wish I could have taken pictures last night. Instead I just took in the most precious moment. Imagine your children gathering around YOU as parents, to pray for you! That is what happened last night…

We had our annual Last Day of Summer ~ First Day of School Dinner Party last night.  It is nothing big but just another reason for a party.  And I want to make this special, special attention for our season changing and children growing. With that come some small gifts that are suited for the new school year and more importantly, personal notes from mom and dad.

It was fun, and endearing.  Our girl starting COLLEGE, feeling like she’s not alone and huge joy over what seems a small gift. But we knew what she wanted and so her joy was great. Probably because we just paid enough attention to her small desires.  Boy 1… we are there!!  We got him a shaving kit because it is time.  Today dad will teach him.  We could no longer let him go to High School without taking care of those furry hairs under his chin and the dark mustache on top.  Boy 2, was he in for a big surprise… Freshman’s we give locker fillers like emergency foods when sugar is dropping, things that make you smell good like deodorant, and chapstick and tissues for the winter.  But in the very bottom of his new lunch bag was a PHONE.  He’s been begging for it since he came to us but with life being complicated enough we did not want to add any complications, and adding a phone brings stress, fights and discussions.  We were not ready until now.  So his gift was actually huge and as it was unwrapped tears flowed richly, for him and me.  So precious.

We moved from outside to inside for dessert and before we devoured that, Tim gave time to pray for each and every child. Our girl going first, and I called on the boys… “Listen to the Spirit” I said, “See, what He may want to say through you” and we prayed.  And down the line we went to pray for Boy 1 and lastly Boy 2.  I was amazed when all 3 jumped in to pray for one another, and some things were right on when it came to encouraging each other.  After praying, something did not feel finished to me, I felt that maybe it was time for Tim and me to humble ourselves and get very small in front of God, asking Him for help, asking for Him to continue to grow us in the roll of parenthood.  But something stopped me and we sat in silence. That is when Boy 1 stood up.  He told Tim and me to sit down in the ‘hot seat’ as he wanted to pray for US. He gathered his siblings, their hands on us as each took a turn to praise God for us.  They praised God for finally knowing love, for their healing and growth since being part of our family.  For having parents who do not give up and always believing in them.  And then they prayed for energy: “God, please give them energy to keep doing what they are doing for us.”  We were all emotional for we all felt the depth of the moment.

I realize we are a crazy bunch, I also realize we are a very special bunch.  Being surrounded by these 3 precious hearts who have it in them to make a special evening into a glorious one!  And then we turned on music and we danced danced danced…

 

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The time he held my hand

We had gone through a rough set of weeks. I was feeling weak and yet I knew that what I was enduring was for the benefit of our boys. Boy 1 had been challenging and was in a season where he was out to hurt me. There are times he looks back and admits: “Yes, my goal was to hurt you.” We were there. We were making our way out of it but it always takes time for me to recover. And I was emotional as I healed from the season.

It was lent season and during the season of lent church decided to committing to pray for our children. But this Sunday was different. The worship leader said that today we would not pray for the children, instead we would pray for those taking care of the children, the parents. At that moment boy 1 reached for my hand as the worship leader prayed. I cried as I took in the prayer that was for me. The prayer that, due to my son’s hand around mine, was going deep into my soul. Our son saw me, and with holding my hand he was saying: “Mom, you are a good mom.”

After the prayer we went back to singing and boy 1 just fell into my arms and we both cried. It is quite incredible for a 16 year old boy to fall into his momma’s arms and letting go of pain and regrets. Feeling the toughness of life, and choosing to share it with me. It was incredible and I understand that what we have going is indeed unique and special.

More of this God, more…

 

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Call us crazy

We are expanding our family. Last night we celebrated our last dinner as a family of 4. We looked back, we looked ahead and we spoke about how we are scared.

What we are doing seems truly crazy. But, we can’t help it.  The brothers have a sister, and she needs a home. And we want to be that home. How can we not?

That girl is something special too and during the duration of 2017 we have bonded with her. 5 short months has created a calling. Boy 2 has his sister back. They went through darkness together and a very special bond was created during it. Boy 2 had to deal with the loss of his big brother, and because sis was around, it made the incredible loss somewhat bearable. Boy 2 feels complete, like boy 1 felt complete with him. For boy 1… this is a dream come true. It started with him, he set this train in motion and now he gets to rebuild what was stolen from him. He has expanded this family and we are blessed.

The road will be hard. When we had that girl over for spring break it was cause for great emotions. Past was called to the front, loss was remembered and the new dynamic of nothing being the same yet happy to be together again was rather confusing for the boys.  But we fought through it, we all did. But we are not kidding ourselves. We are not taking this lightly. We are gearing up for battle. When we get through it, we will all be better, we will have conquered and left behind.  We have our support networks lined up. People are praying and the therapist is ready!

Tim and I will need to soar on the prayers of those around us. We too will go through valleys again. We have done it once, we are doing it twice, and while in the middle of the roller coaster with boy 2, we add this dynamic. Yes, it is crazy.

This morning I awoke before the birds sang a single song. I thought to pray and all I could pray about was the powerful ‘God healing’ happening in our home. The love that is going around, the love the boys are now passing along to their sister, this is a calling on the whole family. The past 2 weeks especially, us 4 have all stepped in. We have all worked hard to literally create space in our home for that girl. A room was build. Setting up walls and painting was done. Family meals were cooked together. A trip to Ikea was made. Savings were felt as money needed to go towards that girl. We have been blessed through this process of combined effort. The family of 4 is stronger because of it, and even for that, this was totally worth it.

“Oh God, we will be Your channel. We will love and we want your healing to move through us. Give these siblings life. Give back to them. Help them heal. Help them persevere. Help them be special beings to this world as they come through deep valleys. Let them rise on top, all three of them.”

 

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Mom, I just don’t know how I am going to feel

I heard some footsteps on the top floor.  “Ah, someone must have woken up” I thought.  I made my way up and I saw boy 1. I guided him back to his room and I kissed him, I stroke his head and wished him good morning. Then I broke the rules, just to show him I love him dearly.  I grabbed his device from the other room and brought it to him.  His smile was so big, he knew I was making an exception, the one where we do not allow devices in the bed room.  Then he said: “Mom, you can stay here if you want….” When a child says that, at least our child, he is not saying, he is asking!  And so I climbed in his bed and we cuddled.  “Mom, I just do not know how I am going to feel on Monday.” And we talked about the big day coming up.

“I have been dreaming about this day for years.  I have wanted this day for years but now I just don’t know how I am going to feel.”

These moments are precious.  So very precious and there really is nothing better in my life then a moment like this where one of our boys just connects in the deepest way.  I feel our hearts attach, I feel welcomed and all walls, all fear, all mistrust is gone.

We are in Colorado for boy 1’s adoption hearing. We are adopting boy 1 on Monday November the 14th.  That day 2 years ago we met him for the very first time.  So we are blessed with our hearing taking  place on that very special date.

A few weeks ago, in preparation for this trip, I asked both boys to make me a list of places they wanted to go, people they wanted to see and things they needed to smell, touch, taste or hear.  I made no promises, I just said I would work hard to get all the things on their list organized.  Thursday would be boy 1’s day, Friday we’d focus on boy 2.  And so it was.

The days have been long and very emotional.  And our boys… they get through it like champs.  One thing they do is amazing… they share how hard it it so see certain people and places.  How it is good but it also brings up painful memories. Especially boy 2 usually processes on his own: he gets quite and plays basketball.  But during this trip he continuously invites us in.  He wants to share.  Both boys are feeling it, they are truly allowing the pain of the past to surface, and we do this trip as a family.  Hurt is carried by us all and the pain in on the move.

I am forever grateful for the people who were willing to go out of their way to give of their time. But this was not a one way affair. We have seen people run towards the boys, we have had past teachers cry at this reunion, we have heard from each and every person how the boys affected them!!!!!  Boys that were rejected, over and over again, are meeting with people who have ALWAYS recognized how unique they are.

I am so proud of these boys and I pray that after these many reunions, they realize it was never about them. They were never rejected because of who they are! I am also proud of them because they were strong. They endured severe pain and I look at them today and see how they fought to stay alive, how they fought to keep hope, trusting that good was in their future.

And here we are… boy 2 is awake now too.  I guide him back to his room, also with his device and soon I carry up lattes and tuck them in. We have a few hours before we start connecting again with the people of their past.

 

 

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He watched us well

The boys were going at it yesterday.  I looked out the window and saw it all unfold.  It was ugly.  It was physical, words back and forth, and at some point the middle finger went up.  Of course I was excluded from the content of it since I was witnessing it all from a distance.

It was clear feelings got hurt because when we were all inside their faces said it all.  They refused to be in one area, and they were not speaking to one another.  It was serious.  And in the midst, I see boy 1 do something amazing.  He served his brother.  In the midst of anger, of: “I am not going to talk to him for a longggg time” he still did good.  He carried his brother’s laundry up from the basement to his brother’s room.

It was an amazing sight because have we not done just that with both boys?  We kept serving them even though we were so hurt, in the midst of anger, and definitely when they did not deserve to be served.  It made me quite proud of that boy.  He watched us well!  This is such an important attribute to life, we serve.  And when we serve those who deserve it the least, we love deeply those who need it most.

 

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Oh that boy sees, and he blesses me

Breakthrough!!

24 hours have passed.  It’s time to do a family check in.  Where is everyone at?  How is every feeling?  Do we need another 24 hours of rest, or are we ready to talk?

I go last… I know I am not ready to talk and I know some others are.  I am about to call out more uncomfortable time.  I have to let it be ok that I am not ready when everyone else is.  I know the boys will be angry with me, and I have to let it be ok.  I know my husband would rather us move on, he is uncomfortable with it too, and I have to let that be ok.  I am nervous about the dinner time we are about to have…

And then something amazing happens.  I take my turn.  “I am not ready boys.  I am still tired.”  I look at boy 1 and I tell him I am still angry with him over last week.  He does not pull his eyes away from me, instead he listens intensely, and he knots his head.  “Boy 2, I still so hurt by your actions towards me, or lack there of.  My tank did not fill up enough yet.  I am afraid I am still able to fire up easily, and I need to work too hard to self-regulate.”  When boy 2 rolls his eyes at me I continue… “And I have to be honest with you guys.  When I see boy 2 rolling eyes at me, when I see that he’s not gotten passed the fact he can’t be on his device, it’s really hard for me to get rest.  Because the rejection continues, the anger at me continues… you are all resting but I still get this treatment.  I still get to be tense.  And boy 2… you do not share anything about where you are at.  You are just angry.  So I just have to breath through this, but also give myself more time.”

Boy 1 steps in: “Can I please respond to this?…  Today has been good for me.  I have been writing and thinking.  I have had good talks with my brother and he’s helped me today in processing things.  But of all things, I have wrestled with the question: “How is it that mom loves me the way she does when she is so angry with me?  How does she do it?  I don’t understand.”  He went on to explain about Monday, when we came home from therapy… “I was still set on being angry with you guys, I was still set on making you hurt because… well… I hurt.  I decided I was not done being defiant and stubborn.  I was not going to listen to anything you had to say.  I was not ready to let go, and the therapy session showed it, I stuck my ground and kept calling everything unfair, without listening to what the adults had to say.  But then we drove home, and we all realized we had nothing to come home to and mom happily offered a trip to the library.  Why would she want to take me to the library and serve ME? And when it was time for dinner, I saw mom make our favorite family meal.  I also know I don’t like the broccoli that comes with that favorite meal and usually mom makes a separate dish for me, with my own vegetable.  I told little brother that dinner was going to suck, how mom usually makes it different for me but there’s no way she would tonight.  I was going to hate dinner.  Then we sat down… and mom actually made me my separate dish just like she always does. It got me quiet, and it made me think. I don’t understand where it is coming from.  How does she do it when she is angry?  I have not found an answer but mom, I want to applaud you.  In my time alone today I have come to realize dad is right when he tells me what a strong woman you are.  You tell me you are angry, you have every right to be, but you just tell me you are, and then you go about life.  You don’t yell at me, you don’t stop loving me, you don’t reject me, you don’t ignore me.  I want you to know I see.  You are a remarkable woman.”

As our boy speaks I let the tears roll down my cheeks.  I grab my husband’s hand.  He knows how hard this week has been and boy 1’s words are healing for my heart.  In that instant I realize it’s all worth it.  In that instant I see what God is doing… He is healing our boys.  He has given me an amazing gift: Hurt, hurt for these boys and show them how you heal.  Love, love these boys and teach them what it truly is.

And with that we did extend our family rest with another 24 hours…

 

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